Nearly Two Thirds of Small Business Owners Say They’ve Recovered From the Pandemic—And 44% Say They’re Better Off

Despite the increased challenges of doing business in 2022, small business owners remain optimistic about their ability to adapt.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
In a recent survey of over 1,000 small business owners in the United States, 62% reported that their businesses have fully or partially recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic.  
But the news from Bank of America’s Small Business Owner Report isn’t all rosy. While 64% of small business owners expect to see revenue growth in the next year, 88% say that inflation is putting pressure on their business, and most don’t expect the national economy to recover soon. 
With inflation and supply chain issues rampant, just what’s in store for America’s small businesses?
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Business ownership has gotten harder over the past decade

This year marks the 10th anniversary of
Bank of America’s Small Business Owner Report
, and 72% of respondents agreed that business ownership has become more difficult over the past ten years. Competition, labor shortages, and supply chain interruptions have all increased the challenges small business owners face—and in the past two years, 79% say the pandemic negatively affected their business
In the past year, the following economic concerns increased compared to 2021: 
  • Commodities prices (70%; +16 PP) 
  • International affairs (61%; +17 PP) 
  • Strength of the U.S. dollar (60%; +8 PP)
  • Interest rates (57%; +11 PP) 
  • U.S. and/or global stock market (53%; +7 PP)
Only 31% of business owners surveyed expressed confidence that the national economy will improve in the next 12 months—a drop of nearly 20 percentage points from 2021. Still, says Sharon Miller, BofA’s President of Small Business and Head of Specialty Banking and Lending, small business owners have “remained resilient.” 

Digital technology holds promise for small businesses’ futures

Despite the myriad challenges faced by America’s small business owners today, the majority remain optimistic about adapting to an ever-more-competitive landscape. Over the past 12 months, 70% adopted new strategies to do business in digital spaces, such as: 
  • Online banking (52%)
  • Accepting cashless payments (43%)
  • Expanding social media presence (34%)
  • Creating an online sales presence (28%)
In the decade to come, 44% of business owners surveyed plan to prioritize digital sales—and while word of mouth remains the most powerful marketing tool small businesses have on their side, 53% agree that social media has become one of the most effective marketing strategies
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